Sci/tech

Did Climate Change Drive Human Evolution?
April 8, 2010 10:27 AM - Christopher Joyce

There's a plan afoot among evolutionary scientists to launch a big new project — to look back in time and find out how climate change over millions of years affected human evolution. A panel of experts from the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., has given its blessing to the plan. They say it could unveil a whole new side of human history.

Nitrous Oxide’s Global Warming Impact No Laughing Matter
April 8, 2010 09:47 AM - BC Upham, Triple Pundit

Thawing permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere releases "large amounts" of greenhouse gas nitrous oxide, according to a new study from the journal Nature Geoscience. The study found that under certain conditions thawed permafrost can release as much nitrous oxide as tropical forests, one of the main sources of the gas.

Nearby Asteroids
April 7, 2010 01:19 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

A newly discovered asteroid, 2010 GA6, will safely fly by Earth April 8th at 4:06 p.m. Pacific (23:06 U.T.C.). At the time of the closest approach 2010 GA6 will be about 223,000 miles away from Earth - about 9/10ths the distance to the moon. The asteroid, approximately 71 feet wide, was discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey located in Tucson, Arizona. Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets or planetoids, are small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun; they are smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids. Such an object, if it hit the Earth, would have a major impact.

Underwater Robot That Can Run Forever
April 6, 2010 03:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

NASA, U.S. Navy and university researchers have successfully demonstrated the first robotic underwater vehicle to be powered entirely by natural, renewable, ocean thermal energy. Though not quite a perpetual motion machine it is close to that. The Sounding Oceanographic Lagrangrian Observer Thermal RECharging (SOLO-TREC) autonomous underwater vehicle uses a novel thermal recharging engine powered by the natural temperature differences found at different ocean depths. Scalable for use on most robotic oceanographic vehicles, this technology breakthrough could usher in a new generation of autonomous underwater vehicles capable of virtually indefinite ocean monitoring for climate and marine animal studies, exploration and surveillance.

Ships at Sea and What is Fair
April 5, 2010 01:42 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Ships are responsible for 2.7% of world carbon dioxide emissions. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that these emissions could increase by 150-250% by the year 2050 in line with the expected continued growth in international seaborne trade. So how does one reduce such emissions since ships are international in nature and there are over a hundred different nations with different rules. How can one be fair and be green?

How Wind Farms Affect the Global Climate
April 5, 2010 11:13 AM - David A Gabel, ENN

Wind energy has been a fast growing sector of the overall energy market. It is renewable energy that can be produced on an industrial scale that can rival the older established energy sources of coal, gas, oil, hydro, and nuclear. Now, it accounts for only two percent of the whole energy market, but government officials expect wind to produce one fifth of the total electricity supply in the United States by 2030. Proponents claim wind power can reduce the threat of global warming. However, a recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found that the opposite is true. Mass produced wind farms can actually affect climate in a negative way.

Masdar: Abu Dhabi's carbon-neutral city
April 5, 2010 09:24 AM - Tom Heap, Environmental Health News

The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is the last place you would expect to learn lessons on low-carbon living, but the emerging eco-city of Masdar could teach the world. At first glance, the parched landscape of Abu Dhabi looks like the craziest place to build any city, let alone a sustainable one. The inhospitable terrain suggests that the only way to survive here is with the maximum of technological support, a bit like living on the moon.

How Will New CAFE Standards Change Cars?
April 5, 2010 06:07 AM - BC Upham, Triple Pundit

How will new fuel efficiency requirements that went into effect last week change the look, feel — and price — of your next car? Experts say expect prices to rise, and smaller, lighter, technologically advanced vehicles to grow in number. New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards published last week require most automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of the vehicles they sell to 34.1 miles to the gallon by the 2016 model year rising to 35 mpg when efficiency gains in air conditioning are included. Currently, the CAFE for cars stands at 27.5 mpg, and 23.1 for light trucks. The standards are expect to reduce CO2 emissions by about 30 percent between 2012 and 2016, and save the country $240 billion from fuel savings, pollution reduction and reduced imports. Automakers have accepted the new standards because they are firm, ending a period of uncertainty; and nation-wide, so manufacturers do not have to contend with a patchwork of different state requirements.

The Future of Publishing?
March 31, 2010 06:50 AM - Guest Author, Triple Pundit

Magazines are being printed in volumes every day, and the sheer bulk in waste is staggering. Time magazine prints more than four million copies a year, all in a slick glossy format that has not always been recyclable. But now, a technological gadget could provide a means for curbing the amount of glossy magazines that are produced–and therefore the number that end up in landfills.

More Accurate Emissions Data Needed Worldwide, U.S. Researchers Say
March 30, 2010 04:14 PM - Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute

A lack of trust wafted through the Copenhagen air when negotiators gathered at December's United Nations climate summit. While many developing countries offered emission reduction commitments, several delegates from industrialized nations remained unconvinced that such reductions could be proven.

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